Abandoned baby bear Tahoe melts hearts

Meet the bear cub who has captured the hearts of locals near Lake Tahoe, after she was rescued by a local wildlife group.

Abandoned baby bear Tahoe melts hearts

Meet the bear cub who has captured the hearts of locals near Lake Tahoe, after she was rescued by a local wildlife group.

BEAR League awoke one morning to find an abandoned bear cub at their headquarters three weeks ago, with no explanation - and named her "Tahoe" after the area.

The adorable cub quickly became a favourite of volunteers and social media fans, as the videos of her learning and playing during her recovery were shared online - from attacking tinned foods to chewing her foot the way a human baby might.

The origin of the cub, however, remained a mystery until just a few days ago, when the organisation received a phone call from a man who claimed to have dropped her off.

"He said he found her crying and hugging her deceased Mother near the Humbolt Redwoods State Park," BEAR League wrote in an update.

"He could not tell what the cause of death was and it was quite a distance from a road. When he notified authorities (but he would not say which agency he contacted) he was told to leave 'it' alone. His conscience would not allow him to walk away and leave her to die...thankfully."

Tahoe is so young that she didn't even have teeth when she arrived, and was unable to eat. Those caring for her have to avoid feeding her by hand, so she won't bond with humans - and can return to the wild.

Instead, Tahoe feeds from a bottle of bear formula embedded in a giant soft toy nicknamed Mrs Duck - simulating the natural feeding process a little better.

Baby Tahoe was only five pounds - 2.2kg - when she arrived, but as an American black bear, she will grow to weigh anything from 40 – 170kg (depending on natural factors and seasonal variation).

The latest update is that she's now spending some time outdoors in a bear enclosure during the day, and has learned how to drink from a bowl all by herself.

The plan remains to encourage Tahoe to be as independent as possible as she gets older and stronger, and, if everything works out right, to release her back into the area she was rescued from in a year or so.

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